When most women think about being in the car when pregnant, they think about the rush to the maternity hospital when labor begins and not about their runs to the grocery store and work during their pregnancies. In reality, driving while you are pregnant can carry some extra risks. Fortunately, the power to reduce your chances of having an accident is in your hands. Get the facts about driving while pregnant and how you can protect yourself and your baby.
Driving Dangers During Pregnancy
The reason that maternity doctors are concerned about the risk of driving during pregnancy is the results of a Canadian study that show that the chances of having an auto accident increases by about 42% during the second trimester of pregnancy. Accident risk remains about the same as before pregnancy during the first trimester and normalizes again in the third trimester. After labor and delivery, a woman’s chance of having a car accident falls lower than it was before becoming a mother.
Reasons for Second-Trimester Accidents
Although the study did not look at reasons for an increased number of accidents during the second trimester, doctors have their suspicions. During this period, hormonal changes can cause intense fatigue, nausea, stress, and brain fog. As a result, reaction times can be delayed and driver distraction becomes an issue. During this time, women have about the same risk of an accident as someone with sleep apnea.
Ways to Reduce Accident Risk
Although the hormonal changes that occur during the second trimester of pregnancy are unavoidable, there are things mothers-to-be can do to cut their chances of having problems behind the wheel. Just being aware of the risk can help you to be more careful on the road. Pay attention to how you’re feeling, and if you’re fatigued or feeling unwell, don’t drive.
At Good Samaritan Hospital we provide comprehensive maternity care, including labor and delivery , in San Jose. Find out what it is like to have your baby in our birthing center by calling (888) 724-2362 or schedule a tour of our birth suites.